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The Worst NHL Draft Magnificence Ever?

Ahead of the 1999 NHL Draft happened in Boston, MA on June 26, many believed it used to be to have a deep quantity of skill to choose between – a treasure trove of varieties. Ecu avid gamers particularly had been thought to be to predominate the early choices, they usually had potential NHL suitors salivating over their meant ability units.

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How may a group move fallacious? The Sedin twins – Henrik and Daniel – had been proper on the peak of the charts. Czech-born avid gamers Patrik Stefan and Pavel Brendl had been assured to be “can’t misses”, or so everybody concept. Those had been the abilities anticipated to head one, two, 3, 4 – they usually did.

Despite the fact that a group may no longer nab a type of 4 heralded alternatives, it used to be extensively felt that basic managers may nonetheless snag a top-notch skill.

Henrik and Daniel Sedin Canucks
The Sedin twins – Henrik and Daniel – ended up being the best avid gamers decided on within the opening around. The Vancouver Canucks nabbed either one of them (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers).

Sadly, it didn’t pan out that means. Two decades after it happened, retrospect tells us that the 1999 NHL Access Draft got here nowhere on the subject of being a draft the place you couldn’t omit. GMs neglected early and neglected frequently.

Twenty-eight avid gamers had been selected as first-round draft alternatives. 3 of them by no means stepped foot into the NHL. Some other 9 choices by no means performed greater than 80 profession video games within the league. Just one noticed his title inscribed at the Stanley Cup, albeit within the twilight of his profession. 4 of the 28 ever ended up being an All-Big name.

In reality, groups arguably had higher good fortune with their choices within the later rounds. Reasonably or unfairly, the draft simply didn’t appear to are living as much as all of its hype.

THW takes a glance again the a couple of misses of the hole around of 1999. We can additionally take a look at a couple of avid gamers who had been some distance higher choices for his or her groups, however weren’t selected till smartly after the primary 28 already had their day.

Patrik Stefan – 1st Total, Atlanta Thrashers

The Atlanta Thrashers weren’t initially going to have the primary total select. It to begin with belonged to the Tampa Bay Lightning, however after a bevy of trades had been finished by means of Vancouver Canucks GM Brian Burke in order that he may make a choice the Sedins, the Thrashers ended up with the highest select.

They’d use it to make a choice Patrik Stefan.

1999 Patrik Stefan Atlanta Thrashers
1999 Season: Patrik Stefan of the Atlanta Thrashers. (Photograph by means of Bruce Bennett Studios by the use of Getty Pictures Studios/Getty Pictures)

Previous to being drafted by means of the Thrashers, Stefan performed for Sparta Praha within the Czech Republic and the Lengthy Seashore Ice Canines of the IHL. What had NHL groups moderately cautious of deciding on him used to be that he suffered a minimum of two concussions whilst with the Ice Canines, restricting him to simply 33 video games of an 82-game time table in 1998-99.

Nonetheless, Stefan used to be additionally very a lot heralded heading into the draft. His former Lengthy Seashore head trainer John Van Boxmeer had those estimations of him on the time:

“He’s going to be a dominating, play-making middle. He’s a man who appears to be like to make the play quite than shoot himself. He’ll be a man who can get 100 assists and 20-25 targets within the NHL. He’s a move between Mike Modano and Sergei Fedorov.”

As it might prove, Stefan by no means scored greater than 14 targets in a season. His very best help overall used to be 26. In the end Patrik Stefan’s profession lasted seven seasons within the NHL – six with Atlanta and one with the Dallas Stars. In 455 common season video games, he scored 64 targets and 124 assists for 188 profession issues. Stefan by no means performed in an NHL playoff recreation.

He’s maximum oftentimes incorporated in discussions for “Greatest NHL Draft Busts” of all-time.

Pavel Brendl – 4th Total, New York Rangers

At 6-foot-2 and 213 kilos, Brendl possessed superb dimension. Think about that he used to be a goal-scoring juggernaut within the Western Hockey League (WHL) for the Calgary Hitmen all through his junior profession, and it made whole sense for him to be decided on fourth.

In simply his first season for the Hitmen (1998-99), Brendl scored an astounding 73 targets in 68 video games. He would additionally tack on 61 assists to offer him 134 issues in his first season. This sort of efficiency earned him all types of accolades, together with the Jim Piggot Trophy because the WHL’s Rookie of the Yr, the Bobby Clarke Trophy for many issues, and the CHL’s Rookie of the Yr award, too.

Pavel Brendl Philadelphia Flyers
Pavel Brendl ended up taking part in handiest 80 video games within the NHL between the common season and playoffs. (Photograph by means of Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Pictures)

As it might prove, Brendl by no means performed a recreation for the New York Rangers. He used to be incorporated within the Aug. 20, 2001 bundle that introduced Eric Lindros to Broadway and despatched the younger Czech to the “Town of Brotherly Love”.

Brendl would make his NHL debut for the Philadelphia Flyers early within the 2001-02 season. He scored his first target in handiest his fourth recreation, when he beat Washington Capital nice Olaf Kolzig. Bother used to be, Brendl would handiest get into 8 video games of motion for the Flyers that whole season, plus a pair in that season’s playoffs.

Such sparse use can be indicative of items to return. Brendl would finally end up taking part in portions of simply 4 NHL seasons, cut up between the Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, and Phoenix Coyotes. His fullest marketing campaign got here in 2002-03 when he performed 50 video games between Philadelphia and Carolina mixed.

Within the 78 profession common season video games that Brendl performed, he scored 11 targets and 11 assists for 22 overall issues. Nowhere close to the illustration of numbers he had post in junior.

Apparently sufficient, Brendl would have an excessively lengthy skilled profession – simply no longer within the NHL. After taking part in an insignificant two video games for the Coyotes in 2005-06, he would move directly to play 10 extra professional seasons in seven other international locations with 12 other groups.

Tim Connolly – fifth Total, New York Islanders

Tim Connolly used to be an excellent hockey participant – when he performed. Blessed with super maneuverability, he used to be one of the most higher playmakers of his era within the league. However anytime Connolly appeared to be at the verge of kicking it into excessive tools and turning into greater than an above-average participant, he ended up getting harm.

As an 18-year-old, Connolly performed his first NHL season on Lengthy Island in 1999-00. He completed 3rd at the group in scoring (14 targets, 20 assists) in the back of Mariusz Czerkawski and Brad Isbister. The most efficient gave the impression but to return.

Tim Connolly would play nearly all of his NHL profession with the Buffalo Sabres (Icon SMI).

After any other respectable season with the Islanders in 2000-01 – this time completing fourth for the group in scoring – Connolly ended up being the center-piece going to Buffalo in a business that introduced Selke Trophy-winning Michael Peca to Lengthy Island.

Connolly’s first two seasons in Buffalo went uninterrupted. He completed 3rd at the group in scoring in 2001-02, and his 35 assists had been second-most in the back of the Sabres’ main scorer Miroslav Devil. Connolly’s passing talents now started to get spotted, as he mechanically fed pucks to avid gamers like Devil, Maxim Afinogenov, and J.P. Dumont.

Sadly, that is the place accidents started to take form.

Connolly would omit all the 2003-04 NHL season because of a concussion. After the league’s lockout in 2004-05, he by no means performed greater than 73 video games in a season. From 2005-06 thru 2008-09, Connolly performed seasons of 63, 2, 48 and 48 video games. What is more challenging to swallow is when one compares his level totals from every of those self same campaigns – 55, 1, 40 and 47. Connolly’s easiest scoring appeared to are available in his maximum injury-plagued seasons, as he used to be just about a point-per-game participant.

Tim Connolly Maple Leafs vs Penguins
Tim Connolly performed his ultimate NHL season with the Toronto Maple Leafs (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI).

Wrapping up his NHL profession with a lone season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, he performed portions of eleven seasons in overall. In 697 common season video games, Connolly collected 131 targets, 300 assists and 431 issues. Had he remained wholesome, he could have been in a position to position up probably the most higher numbers from his draft elegance.

Brian Finley – sixth Total, Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators had been taking part in handiest their moment NHL Draft after they decided on goaltender Brian Finley. Sizable for a goalie at 6-foot-4 and 200 kilos, many speculated that he may turn into any other one of the most greater constructed goaltending stars of the last decade like Olaf Kolzig, Sean Burke or Martin Brodeur. Sadly, Finley would no longer even come shut.

A local of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Finley performed maximum of his junior hockey with the OHL’s Barrie Colts prior to being traded in his ultimate 12 months to the Brampton Battalion. Whilst with the Barrie Colts he led the group to the Memorial Cup Ultimate in 2000 the place they’d lose 6-3 to Rimouski Océanic.

Finley additionally served as Canada’s backup goaltender on the 1999 and 2000 Global Junior Championships. He helped earn silver and bronze medals respectively for his nation.

The Predators sincerely expected that Finley might be the spine in their group for many future years. What ended up taking place can be an insignificant two-game stint in Nashville. Finley didn’t debut with the Predators till a lone time out in 2002-03. After the lockout happened, he performed one ultimate recreation with the Predators all through 2005-06 the place he gave up seven targets.

Despite the fact that he would finish his NHL profession with simply two extra video games – the ones coming with the Boston Bruins in 2006-07 – Finley did have one vibrant spot in his skilled profession. The Milwaukee Admirals were Nashville’s American Hockey League associate for the reason that group’s inception in 1998. Finley helped backstop the group to the AHL’s 2004 Calder Cup championship, splitting the goaltending tasks with journeyman Wade Flaherty.

Kris Beech – seventh Total, Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals decided on Kris Beech with a identical mindset because the Rangers did after they took Brendl. Finally, Beech and Brendl had been teammates in conjunction with the Calgary Hitmen. He additionally had just right dimension at 6-foot-2 and 210 kilos. Oddly sufficient, each avid gamers ended up having very identical journeyman careers.

Beech spent an insignificant 4 video games with Washington, a minimum of to begin with. Debuting with the Capitals for the 2000-01 season, he if truth be told spent the majority of it closing in junior with the Hitmen. Beech went unnecessary within the 4 video games he performed within the NHL at that time.

On July 11, 2001, the Capitals packaged Beech with seldom used avid gamers Ross Lupaschuk and Michal Sivek, and shipped them to the Pittsburgh Penguins in change for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera. This business could also be what Beech is easiest identified for from his NHL profession.

In Pittsburgh he would have alternative to polish, however he simply may no longer produce. The season instantly following the business, 2001-02, can be Beech’s fullest within the NHL. He performed 79 video games, scoring 10 targets and 15 assists. No longer the numbers one would hope for from this kind of excessive draft selection.

Beech toiled most commonly within the minors with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the following 3 seasons, getting simply transient call-ups to the dad or mum membership of 12 and 4 video games. The rest of his NHL profession noticed Beech leap round between the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Vancouver Canucks, and go back stints with each the Capitals and Penguins. In reality, all through the 2007-08 season – his closing within the NHL – he performed for Columbus, Vancouver and Pittsburgh all in the similar season.

Like Brendl, Beech completed his skilled profession in Europe. He performed 8 skilled seasons in another country, which incorporated stops amongst 9 other groups in seven other international locations.

We can no longer undergo all of them intimately, however there have been a variety of different “misses” during the draft. Honorable mentions on this rogues’ gallery of varieties contains:

  • Denis Shvidki: a Ukrainian-born participant decided on twelfth total by means of the Florida Panthers. Shvidki performed 76 NHL video games throughout 4 seasons, scoring handiest 11 targets and 14 assists.
  • Jani Rita: the Edmonton Oilers took this Finnish participant participant on the thirteenth spot. His NHL profession lasted handiest 66 video games that had been performed amongst 4 seasons and two other groups. 51 of them got here within the 2005-06 season cut up between the Oilers and the Penguins.
  • Scott Kelman: taken fifteenth by means of the Phoenix Coyotes, this centerman by no means performed a recreation within the NHL, and performed the majority of his seven skilled seasons within the ECHL after six overall seasons in junior.
  • Barrett Heisten: The Buffalo Sabres drafted Heisten on the twentieth spot. He would by no means play a recreation for Buffalo, however in the long run performed an insignificant 10 video games with the New York Rangers for his NHL profession.
  • Luca Cereda: The Toronto Maple Leafs nabbed this Swiss middle with the twenty fourth select. Cereda by no means performed an NHL recreation, and stayed portions of 3 seasons within the AHL with the St. John’s Maple Leafs. After that, he used to be again house in Switzerland for simply 4 extra professional seasons prior to calling it quits.
  • Ari Ahonen: Possibly a sufferer of circumstance for the reason that nice Martin Brodeur used to be forward of him within the intensity charts, however Ahonen by no means performed an NHL recreation. The New Jersey Devils decided on the Finnish goaltender at number-27. He performed 5 seasons for his or her AHL associate in Albany prior to returning to Europe.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin – second and third Total, Vancouver Canucks

The 1999 NHL Draft undoubtedly used to be no longer all dangerous. The Vancouver Canucks sat lovely for a few years as a result of they drafted Daniel and Henrik Sedin with the second one and 3rd choices, respectively.

Henrik Daniel Sedin Canucks
Henrik and Daniel Sedin each scored over 1,000 issues of their NHL careers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers).

The dual brothers every performed over 1,300 NHL common season video games and scored over 1,000 issues. Henrik earned the Artwork Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy in 2009-10, whilst Daniel introduced house the Artwork Ross and the Ted Lindsay Award in 2010-11.

The Sedins are set to have their jerseys retired by means of the Vancouver Canucks in Feb. 2020, and it might no longer be far-fetched that they obtain induction into the Hockey Corridor of Reputation someday too.

Craig Anderson – 77th Total, Calgary Flames

Goaltender Craig Anderson is our first diamond which used to be discovered within the tough. The Flames decided on him halfway during the 3rd around of the draft. Whilst he would by no means play a recreation for the Flames, Anderson has had an excessively a success NHL profession that has persisted two decades after he used to be drafted.

Seeing stops with the Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche, Anderson has been his easiest all through the just about 10 seasons he has performed together with his present and most up-to-date group, the Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa Senators Craig Anderson
Craig Anderson used to be no longer drafted till the 77th select in 1999 (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Julio Cortez).

Within the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, he led all the league with an astounding .941 save share and a 1.69 targets in opposition to common. Anderson completed fourth in balloting for the Vezina Trophy that season.

Moreover, he used to be the 2016-17 recipient of the Invoice Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the participant thought to be having probably the most perseverance and willpower to hockey during the season.

Chris Kelly – 94th Total, Ottawa Senators

Extra of a defensive-specialist, Chris Kelly’s NHL profession lasted 845 common season video games. His first seven and a part NHL seasons had been spent with the Senators, and he hit double digits in targets in every of his complete seasons with the group.

A Feb. 15, 2011 business from the Senators to the Boston Bruins is in all probability what spotlighted Kelly as a competent two-way participant. Enjoying in all 25 of the Bruins playoff video games that season, he helped Boston win the Stanley Cup for the primary time since 1972.

Chris Kelly helped the Boston Bruins win the 2011 Stanley Cup (Photograph courtesy of Flickr – Credit score: Slidingsideways).

On the tail finish of his hockey profession, Kelly served as group captain for Canada’s Males’s Nationwide Group that competed on the 2018 PyeongChang Iciness Olympics. There he helped lead his fellow countrymen to a bronze medal.

Kelly referred to as it a profession after the 2017-18 season after being a overdue addition to the Anaheim Geese roster. His NHL longevity and Stanley Cup victory earn him a nod on our record.

Ryan Miller – 138th Total, Buffalo Sabres

Goaltender Ryan Miller used to be no longer drafted till the 5th around in 1999, and but he’s nonetheless taking part in within the NHL some two decades later. It could take him a couple of seasons to ascertain himself, however all through the 2005-06 season he turned into the Buffalo Sabres unquestioned starter in web.

Miller spent portions of eleven seasons with the Sabres, and used to be their cornerstone for groups that earned a beginning within the Japanese Convention Ultimate in 2005-06 and 2006-07, and gained the Presidents’ Trophy in 2006-07. He used to be awarded the Vezina Trophy in 2009-10 because the NHL’s easiest goaltender, after posting a document of 41-18-8 with a .929 SV% and a pair of.22 GAA

Ryan Miller
Anaheim Geese goaltender Ryan Miller signed a 1-year contract with the Anaheim Geese on Jun. 20, 2019. (AP Photograph/Mark J. Terrill)

Right through his tenure in Buffalo, Miller used to be the beginning goaltender for the US Males’s Nationwide Group on the 2010 Iciness Olympics in Vancouver. He backstopped the US to a silver medal, and just about took house the gold.

After wrapping up his time in Buffalo, Miller has performed within the Western Convention for the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Geese. Drawing near 40 years outdated, Miller signed a one-year contract with the Geese on June 20, 2019 to stay with the group for the 2019-20 NHL season.

Henrik Zetterberg – 210th Total, Detroit Pink Wings

It’s nearly unfathomable {that a} participant as nice as Henrik Zetterberg used to be no longer decided on till the 7th around. He’s the quintessential instance of an NHL “diamond within the tough”, however used to be par for the route when it got here to the Detroit Pink Wings discovering and acquiring hidden skill later in draft rounds.

Zetterberg could be the all-around easiest participant drafted in 1999. He performed 15 seasons in a Pink Wings uniform, and appeared to possess all the ability on the planet. In 1,082 common season video games, Zetterberg scored 337 targets, 623 assists and 960 issues. He scored double digits in targets, assists and issues in every of his 15 seasons.

1999 NHL drat class
Henrik Zetterberg is arguably the most efficient all-around participant to have pop out of the 1999 NHL Draft, and he used to be no longer even decided on till the 7th around (Photograph Credit score: Andy Martin Jr).

Zetterberg helped the Pink Wings to a Stanley Cup victory in 2007-08. That season he led his group in targets with 43, which used to be additionally a career-high for the Swede. En path to the Cup, Zetterberg will be the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy because the Maximum Treasured Participant within the playoffs. He scored 13 targets and 14 assists for 27 issues in 22 video games because the Pink Wings hoisted Lord Stanley.

Zetterberg would be certain Detroit a chance to shield their identify in 2008-09. Despite the fact that they’d lose in a moment travel to the Cup Ultimate, Zetterberg nonetheless scored higher than some extent according to recreation.

His ultimate particular person accolade used to be being the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2014-15 because the participant who easiest exemplified management qualities off and on the ice, and who made vital humanitarian contributions to his neighborhood.

Just like the Sedins, Zetterberg must sooner or later see enshrinement within the Hockey Corridor of Reputation.

This text used to be initially revealed in July, 2019.

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